By Dick Rolfe, CEO – The Dove Foundation
Steve McEveety is synonymous with several box office mega-hits produced by Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions, like Man without a Face, Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and Passion of The Christ. In 2005, Steve met up with actor/producer John Shepherd (Ultimate Gift), and Todd Burns and David Segel to launch Mpower Pictures. Together, they produced many noteworthy films like Star of Bethlehem, Bella, and The Stoning of Soraya M. Recently Steve and his partners collaborated to produce Snowmen, a heartwarming comedy for the entire family. Steve took time to talk about his experiences including the making Snowmen.
DOVE: After leaving Mel Gibson and Icon, what were your goals for launching Mpower?
Steve: I grew up in the business, especially on the Disney lot. (Steve’s father worked as a writer on many memorable Disney movies like Mary Poppins, That Darn Cat and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes) After working with Mel, I wanted to progress in my work and my life so with the help of some friends, we created Mpower to get something going.
DOVE: What was the purpose or mission of Mpower?
Steve: To create films that improve mankind – what we call “family-beneficial” films. We look for stories that help to improve relationships within families. Snowmen was the perfect movie to meet those goals. And, it was one of the first movies I’d produced that I can show to my children. They couldn’t watch many of my earlier films.
DOVE: Tell me a little about the storyline.
Steve: So I don’t slip and include a spoiler, I’ll recite the official synopsis. It’s a humorous and heartfelt coming-of-age story about three unlikely heroes and the winter that changed their lives forever. After a surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight, the best friends hatch a plan to be remembered forever by setting a Guinness World Records® title. Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that – while fame may be fleeting – true friendship lasts forever. Rob Kirbyson wrote and directed the film out of the personal experience a friend of his had who dealt with a similar subject.
DOVE: What was it that attracted you to Snowmen?
Steve: It is special because it has a spiritual realm without being preachy. We too often ignore spiritual things and this movie allows audiences to look into the spiritual side of life. Unless parents start encouraging their children to do that, we sidestep the important things. The noise caused by so many hi tech distractions in our culture today interferes with the question, “Who am I spiritually speaking?”
DOVE: What was it about this particular story that appealed to you?
Steve: Frankly, I was on the fence about making this film. I loved the story, but I wasn’t sure we could find the right cast to pull it off. Then we found Bobby Coleman (Martian Child), we knew we had a movie. We were also fortunate to get Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future). Ray loved his role. It gave him a chance to play a character which is against type for his more edgy roles. He was grateful for the opportunity to play a role like this. Christopher is such a good actor, he doesn’t have to say anything. His faces are enough to get the audience going. Christopher brings real heart and soul to the film. He delivers a powerful spiritual message without preaching.
DOVE: You’ve screened Snowmen for several audiences and film festivals. What has been the reaction?
Steve: We were awarded the Golden Sprocket for “Best Feature Film” in Toronto—the highest accolade given by the “kids only” jury of highly discriminating eight to 10 year olds. The film has won Audience Awards in Tribeca and at the Dallas International Film Festival. But, the best outcome has been watching kids hugging their moms and dads after watching the movie. It’s hard to make a movie that gets through to an audience. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome like financing, casting, distribution, etc. In the end, if we don’t touch the audience it’s not worth the effort. It tested well among both boys and girls and moms, but it was intended to be for dads.
DOVE: What are your plans for distribution?
Steve: We did a short theatrical release and then Walmart picked it up and is promoting it. ARC Entertainment is taking it nationwide so it should be available everywhere.
DOVE: Thanks for taking time to speak with us, Steve. We loved Snowmen and recommend it to every family. It received 5 out of 5 Doves. It’ll make a terrific Christmas present.